Belfast Telegraph

Give my head peace and just speak plainly

By Lindy McDowell

Have you noticed how it's become the peace? Not the peace process. Or even just plain peace. But the peace.

When commentators talk today about what Gerry would call the 'post-conflict era' it's routinely described as 'the peace'. We are building the peace ... we need to strengthen the peace ...

We are starting to sound like Cochise negotiating with John Wayne in a Fifties Western.

We need to reflect on this. Because these days we reflect on just about everything. Or call on others to reflect upon them.

And certainly we should take time to reflect on things that are unhelpful.

Things that once were outrageous, unacceptable, distasteful or plain old obnoxious are now merely referred to as unhelpful. True, this is helpful in making us all sound more reasonable. But, also, outstandingly prim and prissy.

And this, of course, could be a retrograde step.

And a retrograde step is about as bad as it gets these days in inter-party slagging off. Our newly adopted peace-processing language may be commendable for being as measured and genteel as the dialogue in a Jane Austen novel.

But don't you sometimes wish that in this once famously, plain-speaking part of the world we call all speak a bit more, well, plainly?

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